Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another Anime Distrbutor Bites the Dust.... Who Cares?

So the CEO of Bang Zoom Entertainment came out today and said they will stop dubbing if fans don't support their products. Add him to the list of every other anime distributor in America who has said the exact same thing when facing the death knell.

You know we can all sit here and pretend to take the high moral ground by wagging a finger at each other and say "You shouldn't watched fan subs."

But I look at my DVD collection of anime I bought for five years and realize I haven't watched them more then once except for a handful of titles (Evangelion, Code Geass, etc). It sucks we are expected to buy 26 episodes of a show that we might not even like.

The truth of the matter is they did this to themselves with bad business models and the slow as molasses turn to digital distribution. Originally we had to pay $30 for three episodes of a 26 episode series. It was the only way to get anime so we bent over and said. Please sir can I have another? But to me this is their comeuppance for trying to screw the fans over for so long.

I remember about five or six years ago being at a panel for ADV and the guy speaking was mad that Bandai had just released a DVD with 4 episodes on it instead of three, at the same price, and he wanted sympathy from the audience, because now they were going to have to include four episodes on each DVD. He didn't get that sympathy, and it goes to show how out of touch these corporate guys are, that they had the conceit that we wanted to give them insane amounts of money for nothing.

If I can watch a show subtitled a week after it comes out in Japan, what is there to encourage me, the consumer, to buy your dubbed version a year later? Especially if there in no advertising other then cute anime girls plastered all over ANN? What does that tell me about the show? Oh here is a trailer for Vandred that is nothing but fan service shots. Great. No thanks.

Of course Funi added shows to iTunes and you can buy digital version of all their shows. They seem to be doing fine with that, but according to this guy, no one is. Too little too late is probably the problem. Maybe all these companies need to fail, then in a few years a new company who has figured out a way to make money off anime will rise up with some fresh ideas and give us a reason to pay for products again.

Anime fandom started in America by a group of people who would snail mail VHS copies of fan subbed anime to each other. Somewhere along the line it got big, and now it seems to be going back to its grassroots beginning where fans just pass the shows among each other, and do the subtitle work for free because they love the shows. Except now it is on a much large scale then before.

And don't get me wrong. If you provide me a subtitled copy of a show that I can watch online with commercials, I will watch that version. If I can buy that version I will buy that version. These distributors have to pay the voice actors, so the prices are even higher then just getting the distribution rights, but the fans are showing they are willing to watch the shows online without dubs, so save money and stop dubbing them.

It's a shame that people will loose their jobs, and being corporate America this guy will probably be fine and all the people who work under him will be screwed, and they are probably actual fans and I feel bad for them. But don't look at the community who has kept you alive this long and tell us it's our fault. Learn to adapt is the first rule of business and you failed at it Bang Zoom.